We have been doing mugs in ovens at Conde for years now and thought it was time to pass down some of our best tech tips to getting a successful mug every time.
- Get a good oven. If you can find a Cuisinart brick oven, Model Number BRK-300, then I would definitely purchase it. These ovens take longer to heat up but tend to lose less temperature when you open the door. This oven also tends to have a more consistent heat in all parts of the oven. Unfortunately, this oven is discontinued. Currently, we are using a Breville Convection Smart Oven Model B0V800XL/A.
If your oven has a convection feature it may or may not be a good thing. When we do mugs with the Cuisinart BRK-300 we get horrible results with convection on. When we use the Breville oven mentioned above we only get good results with the convection turned on. In a nutshell, each oven is different and will require testing on your part to see whether or not convection is a good choice.
- Make sure the oven is actually at 400 degrees. I have noticed that many ovens will show that they are at the set temperature when they are actually much, much colder. I use an internal oven thermometer that I can leave in the oven and gauge the true temperature of the oven. If you set your mugs into an oven that is the wrong temperature you will get an undercooked mug. I do not use a laser thermometer to test the temperature.
- Keep your Mug wrap in the best possible shape. Before using the mug wrap again on another mug make sure it has completely cooled off to prevent stretching and wear and tear.
- Make sure you have the perfect pressure on your bolt style mug wrap by going finger tight then using a socket wrench to turn it two more revolutions. This will provide the perfect pressure. If you have an electric drill with torque control you can set it so it quickly tightens to exactly this amount of tension. Start on the lowest setting and raise if needed. If you do not have enough pressure this can cause an undercooked, or blurry mug.
- Measure the height of the mug between the two parts that taper and make your image (template) that tall or less. If you try to image in the tapered section you will get a spotty uneven image there.
- Measure from handle to handle but be sure to leave about ¾”-1” gap at the handle, on both sides. The reason for this gap is most mug wraps are not going to get good contact and pressure in these areas.
- Trim the top and bottom edge so none of the paper goes into the tapered section. If excess paper sticks over into the tapered section, the paper could wrinkle and the wrinkles could go down in to the imaging area. Also, use an extra sheet of paper, taped on, with these same measurements to help protect the wrap from sublimation ink.
- Trim the left and right side with a little bit of paper so you can attach heat tape over a section that doesn’t have an image. Use enough tape so the image will not slip and is on tight. We prefer heat tape as it is less likely to slip and it is easier to place the image exactly where we want.
- Not every mug is perfectly round and occasionally one will have peaks and valleys in it. You will feel the transfer touching some places and hovering in others. If you see this and are not getting perfect results you can lightly wet the entire transfer so the paper is easier to push down into these valleys. If you see a pinched transfer in any area after cooking, you may need to wet the transfer or lessen your pressure slightly.
- When you remove the mug, be sure to use the right type of gloves so you won’t get burned.
- If you are unsure if you have cooked the mug enough you can peel up the corners and check for a good image. As long as the paper does not move you can put it back and cook longer. If you must do this then your oven may not be hot enough, you may need to increase your pressure (if you use too much pressure you will may stretch out the wrap over time, or you may need to cook longer.
- When you have finished the mug, you want to get the transfer off as quickly as possible or you want to cool the mug off as quickly as possible. This is to stop the sublimation process. If you are doing a ceramic mug you can put it into room temperature water with the transfer on to quickly cool the mug.
- If and when you mess up a mug be sure to keep it so you can use it later for testing. If you can manage a solid RGB black from top to bottom and handle to handle then you are doing good.
If you take time to experiment and learn your particular oven, you will be making perfect mugs every time. If you take care of your mug wrap, oven and prepare the mug properly you will be consistently successful at sublimating mugs! It is better to spend a little extra time and get every mug right then risk having to reorder more mugs.
Call your Conde rep today for any additional questions or inquiries, they are happy to help!
For any technical difficulties, call or email our tech support department at (251) 633-5704 or firstname.lastname@example.org